Today is the first Sunday of Advent. For us, Advent is a time of preparing our hearts for Jesus' birth. A few years ago we made the decision to focus our attention at Christmas on the excitement of Christ's birth and the act of redemption and reconciliation that it sets in motion. Since we believe that Jesus changes everything, we believe his entrance into our world is a pretty big deal.
Last year we ate rice and beans for Advent and gave away the money that we saved to build clean water wells. It was a truly amazing experience for our family and definitely our best Christmas ever.
As we were trying to decide what to do for Advent this year, I came across this blog post by Ann Voskamp. Please read it. The question posed is, "Why don’t we give up things so we can give to Jesus for His birthday?”
So, this year for Advent we are giving a present to Jesus every day. Our kids will look through catalogs and online to find a gift each day. One day it may be a goat. Another day clean water. And another day clothes. We will print out a card for each day showing what the kids got for Jesus and then wrap all of our cards up. These will be the presents under our Christmas tree.
Because celebrating Jesus best means loving the unloved. Remembering those forgotten. Bringing redemption and reconciliation to those struggling.
If you celebrate Advent, what are your traditions?